Saturday, October 19, 2019

Rock Wall Face Plant

I could not get away to paddle this weekend, but I did have a few hour free to take advantage of the nice weather. The girls were at church, so I decided to worship in my own way: mountain biking.
I decided to wear some extra clothes because it was a little chilly which made me feel a little off. I also hadn't been on any big trails in a few weeks so I was a little rusty. I was in general a little nervous about getting hurt while riding solo (Imagine me being conscientious). So, I decided to ride the hard part of the Western Greenway from my house.
The initial hill is always a bitch. I can never quite remember where the turn is an it is a steep hill, so I'm rarely in a good gear and my front tire always feels likes its gonna bounce off the trail. Today there was the added challenge of leaves all over the trail. I spun out about halfway up.
After the big up hill there are some steep, narrow, twisty down hills before you come to a junction that where you can choose to go over to the part of the Greenway I always ride or to go down the path less taken. I was feeling a little off and out of my depth, but also full of adrenaline and the need to make the most of my brief bit of solo time.
I took the path less taken. In some ways it was a smart choice because there are less hills and more jump out points. The way I usually go is at least 6 miles and mostly uphill until it levels out and then there is the call of the water tower.... The other path is a lot of down hill at the beginning and the YMCA is only 4 miles in and makes a perfect bail out point if needed. After the YMCA things do start going back up hill, but it is gradual and only for about two miles or so I remembered.
So I made the turn and headed down the hill. It started off fine. I was solid but nervous, so I did my best to keep it slow and keep my butt back.
About half way to the YMCA there is a section with a turn at the bottom of a hill that leads to a quick hop over a low gap in a rock wall. I have done this feature a few times with no problems. I have done several features much trickier with no issues. Today I hit the gap just wrong. The front fork compressed, the tire stoped, and I launched over the bars.
The landing was less painful than I had feared. My I had jammed a finger, banged up my knee, scraped a shin, and avoided smashing my head into anything. I was shaken, but not enough to stop.
It is funny how things work sometimes. The fall should have probably made me more nervous and cautious which would have led me to likely more falls. Instead it did the opposite. I relaxed and my riding got more smooth. The trail from that point is also a little less technical, so that helped the not falling, but I just felt more relaxed. The worst had already happened.
It turned into a great ride. I finished off the back part of the Greenway. It was not a piece of cake, but a nice burn.
After I passed through the Paine Estate I locked out the front shocks and headed down Forest Street with the intention of going straight home. I didn't want to push myself too hard...
Then I got to the turn where I could go straight home or go back into the woods and take the long way home.
Straight home is a short, steep hill followed by a fun downhill.
The woods are flat(ish) but about 3 miles longer.
It is sunny.
I'm not feeling wiped out. A few more miles would be more than I planned, but I have gas in the tank.
I unlocked the forks and dropped into the woods. When I passed the water tower run, the wheels started drifting towards the start of the trail. I restrained myself and stayed on the flat ground. I rounded the bog, used a what was left of my self control to stay on the main trail up to the 1st road crossing.
I forgot that after the road crossing was a long low incline. It is not a hard or technical climb, but it was the end of a longish ride when I am out of shape. I enjoyed it, but I also took a break. I was glad it was a short section with an escape hatch at the end.
The hardest part of the section is the steep scramble at the end. I started the climb strong, then my back wheel spun on some leaves.... I was glad that the road on the top of the hill offered a flat, straight shot to my house.
When I got off the bike, I felt the burn. I was totally gassed. It felt good.
As I was putting my gear away, I noticed a pointy dent in the forehead of my helmet. When I hit the wall, I must of hit a sharp rock with my head and never felt a thing. The dent went through the plastic and into the foam. There is nothing as good as a good helmet.
I don't know what is about me and a mountain bike... I get swept up in the rush and play on the edge of the box...
It is better than being on the couch....